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Published: April 6th 2007
Sunset from the edge of the world
Alii to everyone from the nation of Palau, in Micronesia! I am sorry it's taken me so long to post, when I got off the twin prop plane in Palau, I felt a sharp pain in my neck and then everything went dark.... I awoke to find myself tied to a spit, with the palauans arguing about who was to light the fire under me. I realized I had been ambushed and hit with a blow dart in the neck, and brought to this strange spot for sacrifice.
Palau is unbelieveable. First of all, the Republic of Palau is located only about 7 degrees north of the equator, across the international date line from the United States. The Republic consists of 16 individual "states" which are basically different little islands and atolls that make up this large archipelago. The Palauans are very friendly, most speak english. Following WW1, the Japanese were given Palau under the Treaty of Versailles. Because of this the Japanese influence here is very strong. Also for this reason, Palau was the site of a major battle during WW2. Throughout the islands, there are still fortified positions that the Japanese dug into the Volcanic rock to
Do not lick this guy, he's trouble
defend strategic points. There are also a ton of different types of WW2 wrecks scattered throughout the shallows around the Island. Today I snorkeled around a downed "Zero" Japanese fighter plane, still almost completely intact in a little under 10 feet of water. Truly Amazing. I wont bore you with my actual travelling stories, as everyone who has flown recently knows how terrible it is. Suffice to say, I spent an unexpected night in Guam, since Air Micronesia doesnt fly on weekends and I missed my connection. Once I arrived I met up with the group and we immediately hit the water. The temp of the water is a balmy 79 degrees, the air very hot and humid. The basic staples of the paluan diet consist of fish, pork, fruit bat and rice, so far I have been amazed at the different, creative ways these four basic foods can be put together to produce something interesting and new. Tomorrow is an all-day snorkeling excursion to the "rock islands" which are on the very tip of the republic. These rock islands are actually made of limestone instead of volcanic rock. Strange. Palau is also home to the amazing "jelly fish lake",
This is the propeller of the Japanese Zero that was shot down in 1944
which is a freshwater lake, FULL of jellyfish. There are legends as to how the jellyfish got into the lake, but they involve a lot of palauan words which I dont remember. The strangest thing is that since the jellyfish in this lake have no natural predators, they have evolved away from having stinging tentacles. You can swim in the lake and have 100's of jellyfish bumping up against you, and you dont get stung. It's very disconcerting at first, but after the initial shock, it's amazing to be among these strange creatures. I also came across the famous Cane Toad, native to Palau. This toad is not a pleasant customer. Just an fyi, if you are ever in palau and happen upon a Cane Toad, give it plenty of space. They are angry suckers! They are also the type of toad that secrets a mucus on the skin that if licked, will make you hallucinate. I have no idea how anyone found that out, but it's true. I will be updating more often as we go through the islands, so this entry is a bit short, I apologize. Attached are the first series of photo's I've taken. Please email
Working hard in the South Pacific
me with updates from the U.S. I love hearing from you.
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